3 Great Ways To Fly To Tokyo With Points

By: Travis Cormier

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Tokyo is a destination on almost every traveler’s bucket list, and for good reason. The city has culture, phenomenal food, and adventure right on its doorstep. There are a lot of options for flying to Tokyo. Let’s look at how you can use points and miles to fly in comfort and style.

Japan Airlines

What better way to get to Tokyo than on the airline with the country’s namesake. Japan Airlines is a fantastic way to get to Tokyo. Whether you’re traveling in economy, premium economy, or the front of the plane you will have a phenomenal experience.

It isn’t often you’ll hear me excited about economy class flights—I’m 6’5”—but Japan Airlines has an economy product that makes giants like me excited to fly.

The economy seats on select Japan Airlines flights are some of the best you’ll find on any airline. On most international routes, you will find economy class are Japan Airlines’ “SkyWider” seats. These seats have more leg room and width than you’ll find on almost any other international carrier.

You can book these seats round-trip for only 50,000 Japan Airlines Miles. Even better, if you have flexible travel dates there is a discount price of 40,000 Miles. The dates vary year-to-year, but for 2018 if you travel between January 10th – February 28th, or April 1 – May 31st you can get these discounted prices.

Japan Airlines also has one of the best business class products on the market if you want some space to lie down. If you want something really special, you can try first class where they serve champagne that costs about $400 per bottle.

Miles Needed:

  • Economy Class: 50,000 (40,000 off-peak) round-trip
  • Premium Economy: 65,000 round-trip
  • Business Class: 100,000 round-trip
  • First Class: 140,000 round-trip

How to Earn Japan Airlines Miles:

Japan Airlines miles can only be transferred from the Starwood Preferred Guest program. You will get 1 Japan Airline mile for every SPG Starpoint transferred. Keep in mind, if you transfer 20,000 Starpoints, you will receive a bonus 5,000 Japan Airlines miles. Even at the standard economy class redemption rate, you would only need to transfer 40,000 Starpoints.

All Nippon Airways (ANA)

For those looking for a premium cabin, look no further than All Nippon Airways (ANA). ANA flies directly to Tokyo from 8 U.S. cities:

  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York (JFK)
  •  San Francisco (SFO)
  • San Jose (SJC)
  • Seattle (SEA)
  • Washington-Dulles (IAD)

ANA is a great option for a premium cabin redemption because business class awards start at 75,000 Mileage Club Miles round-trip between the US and Japan. First class awards start at 150,000 miles round-trip.

However, keep in mind that the cost varies depending on when you travel. ANA has three travel seasons: low, regular, and high season. Low season is 75,000 miles for a round-trip business class ticket. High season isn’t much more at only 90,000 miles.

Like Japan Airlines, ANA has a wonderful first class product with amazing service. During the low season first class tickets will cost 150,000 miles round-trip. Travel during the high season costs 10% more at 165,000 miles.

One important aspect of the ANA Mileage Club program that you need to remember is that it only allows round-trip awards so one-way bookings won’t be possible.

ANA has published the season schedule for all of 2018 and part of 2019:


Low Season: January 8-February 28, April 1-25

Regular Season: March 1-31, May 8-July 25, August 21-December 18

High Season: January 1-7, April 26-May7, July 26-August 20, December 19-31


Low Season: January 7-February 28

Regular Season: March 1-31

High Season: January 1-6

Miles Needed:

The amount of miles you will need depends on two factors. First, the class of service you are flying. Second, the season you are travelling in. The following chart is the cost for a round-trip flight using ANA Miles.

Low Season Regular Season High Season
Economy 40,000 50,000 55,000
Business 75,000 85,000 90,000
First 150,000 150,000 165,000

How to Earn ANA Mileage Club Miles

ANA has two transfer partners. You can transfer points from the Starwood Preferred Guest program at a 1:1 ratio. You will get a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 you transfer. This means for one round-trip ticket in business class during the low season you will only need to transfer 60,000 Starpoints.

Mileage Club miles can also be transferred from the American Express Membership Rewards program. Membership Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio to ANA Mileage Club.

BONUS: Fly ANA First Class for Less Miles

If you want to fly ANA first class, pause before you transfer Membership Rewards to ANA. Membership Rewards also transfer to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at a 1:1 ratio. Using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles, you can fly ANA first class round-trip between the U.S. and Japan for 110,000 Flying Club points from the west coast, and 120,000 from the east coast.

American Express occasionally offers transfer bonuses to Virgin Atlantic, sometimes as high as 35%. In this case, you would only need to transfer 72,000 or 75,000 Membership Rewards. You can get two round-trip tickets in first class for the price of one when this transfer bonus comes around again.

Cathay Pacific

Unlike Japan Airlines and ANA, Cathay Pacific doesn’t fly directly to Japan from the US. This can be a huge advantage if you plan to visit multiple cities in Asia.

Cathay Pacific flies between the U.S. and Hong Kong and if you book with the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program you can get a free stopover—even on one-way awards. For 50,000 Alaska miles, you can try one of the best business class products available, visit Hong Kong, and then see Tokyo.

When booking with Alaska miles, you will only be able to book with one partner airline. This means you will only be allowed to connect to your Cathay Pacific flight on Alaska Airlines. If Alaska Airlines doesn’t operate out of your home airport, you’ll have to book a separate positioning flight.

Additionally, you will only be allowed to connect to Tokyo on Cathay Pacific.

Miles Needed:

  • Economy Class: 30,000 one-way; 60,000 round-trip
  • Business Class: 50,000 one-way; 100,000 round-trip
  • First Class: 70,000 one-way; 140,000 round-trip

How to Earn Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles

Unlike Japan Airlines and ANA, there are readily accessible co-branded Alaska Airlines credit cards provided by Bank of America. In fact, there are actually both a personal and a business version of the card.

However, the best way to earn Alaska miles might be by transferring SPG Starpoints to Alaska Airlines at a 1:1 ratio since you can earn a 5,000-mile bonus when transferring chunks of 20,000 miles.

Bottom Line

There are some amazing options for flying to Tokyo on some of the world’s best airlines including Japan Airlines, ANA, or Cathay Pacific. There are a number of other ways to get there, but these should be high on your list.

The next time you book an amazing adventure to Tokyo, give these options a look and you’ll be able to count on a fun flying experience.

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